Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Weekend perspectives

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Oct 14, 2013 | In On the Good

Talking with the National Catholic Register, Father John Wauck lends some needed perspective to the feverish debates over public statements by Pope Francis:

It’s important for everybody to calm down and look at the big picture.

Pope Francis, the Successor of Peter, is the most popular man on the planet. There are worse things that could happen...
You can quibble about how he is saying things, but we are in a good place. Even the need to explain and interpret the Pope’s words is not bad, because you get to talk about things.

For Columbus Day, my friend Bob Royal, at The Catholic Thing, recalls how he discovered and wrote about the real story of Christopher Columbus: a man of remarkable learning and deep Christian piety, whose explorations ultimately brought the world’s people closer together. As Royal has shown, it’s very difficult to sustain the leftist argument that the indigenous peoples of the Western hemisphere are worse off because of Columbus; in fact, it’s simply impossible to swallow that argument without some strong ideological seasoning. He suggests another perspective:

In his enthusiasm to bring the Gospel to all nations and usher in God’s Kingdom, Columbus gave us a global world, our world, in which all parts of humanity were finally in contact with one another.

And at Catholic World Report, Anne Hendershott explains how the adoption of federal “Common Core” requirements are paving the way for “The Federal Takeover of Catholic Education.” Federal standards will certainly produce different sorts of standardized tests, she observes, and parochial-school students may be at a disadvantage when they take those tests. What is even more distressing, however, is the willingness of many Catholic school systems to adopt the “Common Core” standards without a critical look at what they include and what they omit.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Oct. 16, 2013 9:34 PM ET USA

    How does the saying go...; DON'T "tempt" the Devil? But that is exactly what our bishops did... by accepting Federal money, ignoring the duplicity of deviant Catholic politicians, lobbying for socialist causes and passively discouraging independent initiative... and now the monster turns on its creators? Where is the surprise here?

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Oct. 15, 2013 11:17 PM ET USA

    I would certainly comment on the last item. Observing things over a 10-15 yr span has its advantages. It would seem that the implication is is that this misguided "Federal government" simply sprang up out of the earth with no influence whatsoever from the poor victimized "Church" itself. Tragically this is simply not true. Who is it that empowers this amoral "Federal government" by failing to discipline Catholics in the US government... and who has taken Federal money? It is obvious.

  • Posted by: jacquebquique5708 - Oct. 15, 2013 10:30 PM ET USA

    Anne Hendershott is right about the "Common Core". As someone who retired as a public school teacher just ahead of the "burning of the bridges" by Common Core "Teach for America" reformers, I reiterate that that is what the real agenda is all about. Catholic schools are an embarrassment to most public schools for their tradition of success. Of course, the federal system wants to take over. They are just being more clever than previous national socialist forced endeavors as in Germany, Russia.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Oct. 15, 2013 8:00 AM ET USA

    (Sorry, my last message was truncated when I leaned on a key by accident. It should have finished with mention of Francis' interest in Blaise Pascal, something he mentioned in the Repubblica interview.)

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Oct. 15, 2013 7:34 AM ET USA

    Having taught in government schools for 30 years, I can say that the last thing Catholic schools need are ''core'' anything from that quarter. I tell parents willing to listen NOT to send their kids into public schools if they wish to protect their faith. Intellectually and morally, the nation's taxpayer funded schools are a desert filled with sidewinders and scorpions, and the desolation there deepens with every passing year.